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IMOB monitors alertness and allows technology to intervene during your car ride    May 22, 2019

IMOB monitors alertness and allows technology to intervene during your car ride
May 22, 2019


Prof. dr. Tom BRIJS



A sensor in the steering wheel of your car that monitors if the driver is paying attention. Or a camera in the car that shows dangerous maneuvers to the driver after a car ride. Sounds futuristic? Not for long anymore. The next 3 year, the Institute for Mobility (IMOB) of UHasselt will investigate, together with international research centers and companies, how technology can further improve traffic safety.


“There’s more technology in your car than there is in your computer.” – Jennifer Granholm.

“Humans are the largest cause of traffic accidents”, prof. dr. Tom Brijs, the coordinator of the international Horizon2020 EU-project, explains. “In the past years, car manufacturers have started to install sensors and cameras within in our cars that can alarm the driver or even take over when a dangerous situation occurs. It is certain that this type of technology will further evolve in the future, but a future filled with self-driving cars on our roads is still far away.”

“The result? We will reside in a twilight zone. One where it will become increasingly more difficult to identify who will react. The driver or the car. Some cars can already drive in automatic pilot during long rides on the highway. But what happens if suddenly need to intervene? How does the car know that you are paying attention? These are the main types of questions that we would like to investigate during the i-DREAMS-project.”


During the first phase of the project, the researchers will monitor the driving behavior of the driver as well as the driver him/herself. “Through sensors that are incorporated in the steering wheel of the car we will monitor the alertness of the driver in our driving simulator. We would also like to measure the emotional state of the driver, as this can have an impact on driving behavior. Up until now, we don’t know much when it comes to the driver. However, this can be important. If a car knows that a driver is less alert, it can intervene or give a warning to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.”

In the second research phase, the researchers will focus on intervention. During it, they will test technologies that actually intervene. This can be in real-time, for example a car that gives instruction to the driver during the car ride.  “But we also want to investigate whether we can use technology to raise awareness”, Tom Brijs explains. “A camera in the car could show all the dangerous maneuvers to the driver after a car ride, making the driver aware of his or her behavior on the road.”


The i-DREAMS project involves 13 partners, originating from 8 countries, and is funded by Europe within the framework of Horizon2020 (814761.61). Next to the car, this research will also focus on other means of transportation like trucks, busses and trains. 

The consortium consists of UHasselt (Belgium), National Technical University of Athens (Greece), Loughborough University (UK), European Transport Safety Council (Belgium), Oseven Single Member Private Company (Greece), Technische Universität München (Germany), Barraqueiro Transportes (Portugal), Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit (Austria), DriveSimSolutions (Belgium), CarioID Technologies (Portugal), Polis (Belgium), Univerza v Mariboru (Slovenia), Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands).